Now that we are nearly four days removed from the Green Bay Packers loss to the San Francisco 49ers (again) in the wild card round of the playoffs, it’s time to take a look back at the game and some of the key plays that led to the final outcome.
Another early exit is hardly something to want to watch again and I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched an actual replay of the game since. I probably never will.
Our team here at ALLGBP.COM will be tackling various plays and series over the next few days and offering some insight into what the Packers did, what they could have done and what ultimately happened.
I chose the near interception by Micah Hyde with just over four minutes left in the game. Call me a frontrunner if you will, as this was arguably the biggest missed opportunity of the game for the Packers.
At this point in the game, the score is tied 20-20 and San Francisco has the ball at their own 30-yard line. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had just overthrown tight end Vernon Davis deep down the seam on the previous first down play. Below is the next play that ensues:
A few things to note about this play. Upon taking the snap, Kaepernick takes a three-step drop and immediately looks left at receiver Anquan Boldin. One of the knocks on Kaepernick is that he tends to lock in on his receiver, which he did on this play.
Boldin runs a five-yard out route. Kaepernick taps the ball a few times, loads up and makes the throw. Hyde was keyed on Kaepernick’s eyes the entire time and breaks on the ball. He is in perfect position to make an interception in front of Boldin and leaps to make the catch. Hyde gets both hands on the ball but cannot reel it in and it falls incomplete.
Had Hyde made the catch, there appears to be a lot of field in front of him and a good chance that he could have returned the pick for a touchdown. Still, if he is brought down or ends up out of bounds, the Packers are already in field goal range and they put the ball back in the hands of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. San Francisco had just one timeout left so they would have had only that plus the two-minute warning with which to stop the clock.
It is often said that there is a reason why defensive backs are not wide receivers and it a lot to do with their ability to catch the football. During the telecast, FOX color analyst Troy Aikman said it best when he stated that “those are the types of plays that are differences between winning and losing.”
Obviously the game could have gone much differently had Hyde made the play but another look at the title says it all. It’s what actually happens on the field that matters and what matters is that it’s the 49ers heading to Carolina this week and not the Packers.
One of the things that Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said in his season-ending press conference is that the defense needs more players making plays. It was encouraging to see Hyde, a rookie fifth-rounder, doing everything right on the play and in a critical game. Everything including almost coming down with the ball and a key turnover. Unfortunately, as we know, “almost” doesn’t count in football.——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: